Nutrition is a complex subject and with the enormous amount of information out there (some correct and some not so accurate), it’s easy to make the wrong choices when it comes to what to eat. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain lean muscle or improve your athletic performance, you can’t underestimate the impact that your diet has on results. Check out the biggest nutrition mistakes people commonly make to see if there’s something you should change.
1. Using a One-Size-Fits-All Approach
You’re an individual! Your body, metabolism, psychology and personal preferences are all unique. And, they all impact how your body responds to food and exercise. That means that what works for you, won’t necessarily work for other people and vice versa.
Instead of blindly following advice that others give you, listen, try it out and take note of how it affects your body. Does what you’re eating satisfy your hunger? How are your energy levels? How do different types of exercise make your body feel? And, what activities seem to create the most results?
If something’s working for you, keep doing it. But, if it’s not working, stop and try something different. Taking this ‘detective-style’ approach does take time but it also delivers results.
2. Continuously Cutting Calories
It is true that you need to use more calories than you eat to lose weight but you can’t keep continuously cutting calories! It’s one of the biggest nutrition mistakes (if not the biggest) that people are making these days.
Your body is smart and if it doesn’t have enough food, it starts working to store as many calories as it can so you can survive. This means that eating less doesn’t equal greater weight loss. Instead, a balanced, slower approach is needed if you want to tackle fat loss effectively.
3. Ignoring Gut Health
Gut health is receiving more focus these days but we’re still making the nutrition mistake of ignoring our digestive health. Even if we’re eating the most nutritious foods, having an unfavourable balance of gut bacteria means that your body won’t be able to digest and absorb the nutrients it needs.
Focus on improving your gut flora by eating plenty of fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut and kefir. It’s also important to reduce the amount of processed, sugary foods that you eat as these feed on bad bacteria. By doing that, your body will be able to get so much more out of the healthy foods you put into it. Learn more here.
4. Refusing to Stop Eating Garbage
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us know what to eat and what not to eat to lose weight. But, when it comes down to it, more often than not, we’ll be serving ourselves up an extra-large serving of cake or justifying why we ‘need’ that Friday night drink. Then we ‘overlook’ all those treats that add up and wonder why we’re not making progress towards our goals.
If you’re serious about losing weight and living healthily, it’s necessary to be aware of what we’re eating and choose the healthier options. That doesn’t mean being on a ‘diet’. It just means breaking the habits that are stopping you from achieving your goals and learning to enjoy better foods. You’ll still be able to enjoy a birthday treat but won’t have the cravings that leave you wanting to eat the whole bag of cookies.
5. Labelling Yourself
If you’ve labelled yourself as a particular type of ‘dieter’, STOP! If what you’ve been eating isn’t giving you the results you’re after, you need to change it, irrespective of if it adheres to the paleo, primal, whole 30, or other dietary ‘rules’.
Be open to the possibility that more than one approach to nutrition might work. And, what works for you now, might not work for you down the track. Don’t let your identity get tied up in what you do or don’t eat. Instead, eat what gets you the results you’re after while it’s working.
Using Your Results to Guide Your Nutrition
As you can see, it’s easy to make any one of these biggest nutrition mistakes. To learn more about how to fuel your body best, click here to view more of our nutrition-related articles or contact me for personalised advice and training.